By CRAIG HALL
HOWE—There was no charm for Panama’s girls in their third meeting with Howe while a big third quarter pushed Wister’s boys past Pocola in Class 2A regional winners’ bracket games here Thursday night.
Howe’s girls completed the hat trick with their third win of the year over the Lady Backs with a 57-25 win while Wister broke through in the second half to down Pocola, 49-40.
All four teams are still alive. Howe and Wister will play for regional championships Saturday night at Ada as the Lady Lions face undefeated and fourth-ranked Amber-Pocasset at 6:30 p.m. while Wister gets a rematch against Haworth at 8 p.m.
Panama’s girls play Haworth at 1:30 p.m. Friday and Pocola takes on Rattan at 3 p.m. Both games are at Ada.
In a rematch of an earlier game which Wister won 65-46 in the Choctaw Invitational back in December, the Wildcats and Pocola were tied at 16 after a low-scoring first half.
Wister used the long ball and a lot of Cody Luman to take control in the second half while the Wildcats’ matchup zone and height frustrated Pocola.
Luman opened the third quarter with a conventional three-point before the Wildcats’ next four baskets were all 3-pointers as Dalton Brown buried two deep along with one from Luman and Clint Crane to open an eight-point lead.
Luman also finished with a pair of baskets late in the quarter, including one at the buzzer as Wister outscored the Indians 19-11 in the quarter to build a 35-27 lead. He scored 10 of the Wildcats’ points in the period to almost match Pocola’s total.
Pocola was far from finished, however. The Indians fought back and pulled to within three points with 2:42 left on a follow shot by Omar Quamoun.
Tyler Gibson answered for Wister to put the lead back at five. Quamoun hit one of two free throws to narrow the gap back to four at 44-40, but the Wildcats shut out Pocola over the final 2:08 and Luman hit a free throw, Logan Warren scored on a breakaway layup and Luman capped the scoring with a pair of free throws for the final 49-40 win.
Luman finished with 20 points to lead all scorers. Crane added 11 points and Brown had nine. Grant Severe led Pocola with 12 points while Tanner Francis added 11.
Howe’s girls continued to roll in the first game, eventually building a 32-8 lead at halftime to advance to the regional finals.
Megan Brown had 14 points for Howe, now 25-1, while Brooke Vandever had 10 and Mariah Landeros and Abigail McGarrah nine each. Kaylin Goines’ eight points led Panama.